A/N: This fic is done entirely in Snape's point of view, and if you have read anything else of mine, you will find it is a bit different.  A bit better written, and I have spent a lot more time working on it.  I worked on this one like I do my novels, and I rewrote it before I typed it.  I do hope you enjoy. 

Disclaimer:  I don't own Professor Snape, no matter how much I would desire to, nor any other character of J.K. Rowling.  Though, I do own the Wond-Air Chair, and a few miscellaneous characters you will encounter later on in the story, so that is unimportant for right now.  So don't sue me.

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Chapter 1- A Fatal Mistake

            "What sort of effect is produced by adding powder of Baby Mandrake root to a potion?" I scanned over the class, this awful stupid, horrible class.  All of them seventh years, and none of them, not one, was up to par in their potions.  I would have thought my very own house would have produced someone at least a little bit adequate in this class.  Unfortunately, there was only one of the seventh year Slytherins that had the passion for potions such as I.  I sighed as I once again scanned the room.  Seventh year Basic Potions… There were a few faces missing from it, but only five of them.  Those fortunate five had decided to take my advanced potions class this last year of their tutelage here at Hogwarts, those extremely few who decided to tolerate me to advance their learning.  I felt the sneer sneak upon my face as I looked to the table that sat my only reason for actually looking forward to this class.  Fortunately, only two of the 'golden trio' were here, as that know-it-all Granger decided to be smart, for once, and take my Advanced Potions class- where she was much more tolerable for me- and away from those two, as that is where I credit the fact she was more tolerable.  My sneer widened as I cowered near 'the-boy-who-lived-who-defeated-he-who-must-not-be-named' and most likely gained an evil twinkle within my eye.  I stayed silent a moment, watching the boy squirm and shuffle through his papers frantically, now used to the way that I single him out.  Stealthily, I suppose, I slammed the flat end of my hand down on the table, which made the boy jump, looking up at me over the thick frames that rested on his nose.  "Mr. Potter… Would you, perchance, know the effect of this?" The boy stopped shuffling the papers, sighed, and looked me dead in the eye.  Was that annoyance I seen in his eyes?

            "No, Professor Snape, I do not." I backed away from him, and then sharply turned away from him in a way that made my robes flow behind me dramatically.

            "Ten points from Gryffindor." I heard him groan, as well as much of the rest of the class as I returned to my space in the front of the class.  I stayed facing away from them a moment, and then schooled my face to an extra-menacing expression, and then again turned to them quickly.  "Does anyone else in this class know the answer?" No… Of course not, why should ANY of them actually LISTEN to me the previous class and actually have DONE the said reading assignment?  Why, it was only the second class of the year…. I flexed my hand a moment, it took every last thread of my self control and patience to avoid throwing my hands up in the air in frustration, walk out of the room, and then find Albus to tell him that I was canceling seventh year potions at that moment.  Instead, I set my haw in sheer determination; these insufferable prats were going to pay dearly for that… Had Malfoy, or even, Merlin forbid, Granger been within this class, at least I would have SOME form of intelligible life forms within the room, but by Merlin's grave…  "Since none of you seem to have studied you text, like you should have over this past week, I will now require ten pages of NEATLY scripted research on the uses of Powdered Baby Mandrake Root, and how it compares to the more adult form of the same kind." I pointedly glared sown the entire class, and I heard one of the Gryffindor's… Longbottom I am thinking, gulp audibly.  "It will be due on the BEGINNING of the next class." I watched the time for a moment… Good… Class would be done in… twenty seconds…. "In the next class we will make a potion to demonstrate the effects of Powdered Baby Mandrake Rood."  Seven seconds… "It seems that this class period has run out of time.  I expect these papers to be complete, and handed in at the beginning of class…. Otherwise… I will be giving out detentions." I paused… The class was over… finally.  "You are dismissed."

            Every last one of my students grabbed their things, and then ran for the door.  I fthere was something I never had a problem with was emptying my unwanted classes.  As the last of the little rodents left my classroom, I sighed.  I had just condemned all the seventh years from my own house to detention.  Most of my students feared me, even from my own house, but they at least, I think, held me in awe as well… Oh well, they should have studied, the lot of them.  I turned to my seventh year advanced potions paperwork and notes.  Tomorrow the class truly started… There were only about fifteen students in the class, and oddly enough most of them were from Hufflepuff.  I hate Hufflepuff; the name just falls funny on the tongue… I muttered it aloud, then half laughed.  I wonder how the woman got through life with a name like that… Must have insisted everyone call her Helga no doubt.

            "What in the world are you laughing about?" I looked up to the source that had omitted the voice.  He stared at me with amusement glittering in his silvery blue eyes, his platinum blonde hair slicked back in the usual fashion.  It was none other than Draco Malfoy, the top student of my own house.  He should have been head boy seeing he was number two in the entire school academically, same as Granger should have been head girl as she was the number one student academically in the entire school.  I glared at the boy.

            "Inside joke." I raised my brow.  "May I ask what it is you desire, Mr. Malfoy?" He raised one of his eyebrows at me; perhaps the word desire was the wrong choice of vocabulary.  After a small moment, very small as to the fact I am rather impatient, and more so at this moment than usual considering that blasphemic class I had just moments ago.  I spoke.  "Are you just going to stand there, smiling like a git, or are you going to stop wasting my time, and tell me why you are here?"

            "Oh yes, that.  Sorry, the words that you said before distracted me."  I groaned, rather happy that I was never going to have to suffer the effects of maturing male hormones again.

            "Please Mr. Malfoy, I do not wish to hear anything of how well, or not so well, your sex life has been as of late." I had already heard enough of the boy's endeavors to last me a lifetime… He wasn't called the sweetheart of Slytherin for nothing.

            "Sorry Snape.  I got pulled aside by McGonagall a few minutes ago, told me to seek you out, and tell you that you need to meet with Professor Dumbledore by tonight."  I raised an eyebrow at him.

            "Might I ask why she sent you, instead of telling me this herself?" The boy shrugged.

            "She is McGonagall?  How am I supposed to know?  She doesn't speak to me if she doesn't have to, you know that." I smirked at him.

            "No one speaks to you unless they have to , unless it is Crabbe, Goyle or myself." He smiled at that one.

            "You're one to speak.  The only ones around here that are actually willing to speak to you is myself and Dumbledore.  As for everyone else, they only do if they are FORCED to.  Probably because you're so damned depressing." He paused, giving me a closer look as I picked up a goblet of water for a dink, and then brought it to my lips, letting the cool liquid slide down my parched throat.  "How long has it been since you were last laid anyways?" I choked on the cool liquid, and then slammed the goblet down.

            "HOW IN THE BLOODY HELL did you get from the subject of telling me I had a meeting with Albus, to discussing my non-existent sex life?" He looked up at me with those seemingly innocent looking eyes of his… Like bloody hell they were.

            "Well, that is simple; first you asked my McGon-" I shushed him.

            "I damned well know HOW you got to that point Malfoy.  I just don't understand why you always must bring it up." As I spoke in my most acidic tone, the annoying little prat shrugged, smirking at me.

            "I was only suggesting…" He trailed off, leaving the suggestion in the air.  Perfect time to change the subject…

            "How is your extra credit coming with Flitwick?"

            "It is fine, only a few more pages and it will be done." He sneered, "Hope I'm one step ahead of that mudblood this time.  I think Father would have a conniption if I didn't catch up to her this year." I nodded slowly to this.

            "That is most likely." The boy's father WAS extremely strict with him, though I'm sure that he cared for him in his own, rather odd way.  Though, for some reason the boy sought refuge with me, and strangely enough I have come to care for him as a son over the years.  He was my best student, having a passion for potions such as I.  He was also stuck in the very same situation I had been in when I myself was his age.  The only difference being that he didn't WANT to do what his father wanted, and actually had the desire to fight it.

            "Have you…" He pursed his lips, and then looked around the room quickly as if checking that the coast was clear for him to speak.  He leaned in closer to be as if it were to help and whispered, "Have you spoken to … You-Know-Who about You-Know-What?" What is it with wizards and these bloody annoying idioms?  As if speaking a name would incriminate you… The only times I ever used such things is when referring to Voldemort.  Oh, excuse me, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, rather, though I rarely naturally say it that way.  I raised my brow to him.

            "Anxious are you?" I watched the boy clench his jaw, obviously nervous.  "Yes, I have spoken to him, though, I was not yet able to relay the whole situation to him as of yet.  I will inform you when I receive more information, do not worry of this situation, there is yet the rest of the school year ahead of you, Young Malfoy." After learning he did not want to follow in his father's footsteps and become a deatheater, I had taken it upon myself to see that he wouldn't.  For the past five years I have been working on a plan of escape for him.  What can I say on the matter?  He has become my obsession.  Perhaps for the reason that I l do not wish for him to end up like myself.  I squared my jaw as I looked at him.  "You know that I will do everything in my power to help you escape a fate such as my own." He donned a half grin that I recognized as something oddly similar to Weasley's, and I once again raised my brow.  How extremely unfitting for him… He then turned to leave me without a verbal response to my words to him, and just before he left, he turned back to me.

            "Thank you Professor Snape… For everything." I nodded to him, and then he finished leaving my room.  I felt the smile force itself upon my lips and I did nothing to hide it; after all, why not?  It wasn't as if there were any staff members or student around at the moment to witness my unguarded moment.  Contrary to popular belief, I actually DO have a heart residing within my chest, and the fact I have been spying for the order for so long, so I should hope anyways, should prove that point very well.  As I thought of what I was, I raised my hand to my arm, over the impossible to remove dark mark I have donned for half my life.  Even after Volde… He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was finally destroyed the mark remained.  It was completely unfair, and all the deatheaters congregated at least once a month still, for the love of Merlin.  Trying to find a replacement for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, who had the perfect ideals, and was willing, and had the stomach to bring those ideals to life.  I, thankfully, was quickly discarded of the opportunity.  I had been once of those people once, scorning and degrading mudbloods and the like, they didn't deserve a place amongst us true, pureblooded wizards.  I had kept that ideal for far too long.  How is it then that I ended up spying for the order then? In a rather nasty manner, I found that I wasn't as radical or sadistic about t all, meaning though I didn't approve of them, I didn't think they outright deserved to be slaughtered over their parentage.  Maybe denied, or make them work harder at it to make them deserving of the man some, but certainly not death.  This is what made me switch sides, along with my own guilt of course.

            Oddly enough it was the current seventh year class that made me reconsider my ideals.  Outside of Malfoy and that damned Potter boy, there were other students I had noticed.  Especially those students that were incompetent and messed up everything they ever did.  Two of them, unfortunate as it may be, were from my own house.  It would figure that my own house would produce such doldrums that most likely couldn't think of a single sentence by themselves, and they were none other than Vincent Crabbe, and Gregory Goyle; Malfoy's stupid little sidekicks.  Then there was of course Gryffindor's own near-squib Neville Longbottom who pushed the edges of my patience to the brink of nonexistence far too many times.  Pureblood hell, don't make me laugh… Then on the top of it all was Gryffindor's greatest student, Hermione Granger; the one person who made me question my ideals.  A mudblood, bushy brown hair, big curious brown eyes, and a bit of a heartthrob if I do say so myself, especially after she ridded herself of those hideous metal atrocities that resided inside her mouth last year… Not that she would ever take advantage of such a thing.  Of course not, she decided on books more so than boyfriends.  She simply amazed me, this girl.  Too bad she was in Gryffindor though; she would have made a wonderful Slytherin… Would have won a quarter of the house points for us, added to Malfoy; who DOES win a quarter of the house points, and not just because he is the seeker for the Quidditch team.  No I credit all the points made there to the whole team, and what a team we have this year.  Oh dear, once again I seem to find myself ranting on about my oh so wonderful house- pity.  Back to what I was saying – Hermione Granger, I believe it was.  She was brilliant, especially in potions, and was everything contrary to everything I thought a mudblood to be.  Of course, due to her brilliance, I had to continuously ignore the girl, else of course I actually wish to give away house points to Gryffindor, and trust me, that I was NOT fond of doing.  Somehow, she had become part of the miscreant 'golden trio' and was such a complete contrast to Weasley and Harry 'oh so wonderful' Potter.  Humph, stupid boy was just like his father was… Continuously getting into trouble, breaking every known school rule and yet the boy was still looked upon as a hero; it was PREPOSTEROUS!  -Although, the boy did defeat Voldemort, but that was beside the point.

            Sighing, I quickly put the papers away, feeling that they were about in as much order as they would ever be, and there was no trying to concentrate on important things when there was other things on my mind.  That usually meant missing something important, and that was never good.  I brushed my fingers through my hair… and then quickly shook my hand afterwards to rid it of the nasty feeling.  My hair was far too greasy, not that it mattered to me really, not anymore.  Though, there was a time I did care a bit, but that was so long ago, before that fateful night… I clenched my eyes attempting to hide the memory that was trying to barge through the barricade that was my conscious mind.  That memory always worked its way back to the surface every now and then, no matter how hard I tried to forget, no matter how many memory charms were performed to rid me of it.  Sure, they had worked for a while, but for some reason or other, the memories would return to me, to torture me, the memories of that night; the night that chanced me forever…

            I put my fingers to my large, hooked, and a bit crooked nose remembering the pain of it.  I sighed once more, dropping my hand to my side in defeat, and then decided that I should now go see the headmaster for this little meeting, and get it over and done with.  After all, what else could it be?  I stood, and started to make my way to his office, and as I did such I felt a small familiar twinge of pain in my left knee.  Merlin, I was starting to become old.  I sighed for the millionth time this day, at the melancholy of it all.  When I was younger, I had sworn off anything to do with this bloody school and all the people inhabiting it, and now this place was my life.  Something pf a paradox really, I most likely would never have a wife or children. Oddly it wasn't the wife I would miss the most out of my could-have-been life, but it would be the children.  I shall always mourn the fact I will never have any, as I rather do desire to have them, to spite appearances.  I groaned inwardly, it would never do me any good to dwell on what may have been.  Instead I should be more thankful that I am privileged enough to be spending my days within these walls instead of Azkaban's.  It was a wonder Albus forgave me for what I had done, as I have never, nor will I ever, forgive myself for it.  I hastened my walk in determination to get to this meeting faster.  The sooner this was over, the sooner I could hide within my life here, as a master professor of potions.  The joy of it all… Right, just continue to tell that to yourself, Severus.

            Soon I found myself nearing the large stone Phoenix that guarded the headmaster's office, and I stood before it.  "Sherbet Lemon, Crème de Menthe" This man… had issues… Slowly the stone bird rose, revealing a tall spiraling staircase in its wake.  I couldn't keep my mind from wondering as I stood before the slowly rising stairs a moment.  Sherbet lemon, and Crème de menthe… My nose wrinkled in disgust, such an odd combination.  Sometimes I wonder about our dear headmaster; setting the password as his current favorite sweet at the time.  I shook my head free of thoughts as the staircase reached its destination, finally, and I stepped up to them, taking a deep breath a moment before climbing up them.

            "I've been waiting for you Severus.  Do come in, have a seat." I finished climbing the stairs and then peered at him; he was standing near one of the staircases that led up to his desk.  I looked at him a moment before responding.

            "As I've noticed." He smiled at me, that damned happy, naive looking smile of his.

            "Come, follow me Severus, there is much I need to discuss with you." I nodded lightly and followed him when he went up the staircase.  As I reached top of it, I realized that the office was rather… void of the essentials for a staff meeting.  Such as per say, the other staff members of the school.  Suspicion started to ebb its way into my chest, and I have him a cold, hard stare.

            "Why do I have that odd, nagging sensation that your asking me here, has more to it than meets the eye?" The headmaster gave me a curt nod, then proceeded to walk behind his desk and sit in his overly large chair.  He passively waved his hand.

            "Come sit Severus, I have much to discuss with you, and might I add, that you thinking this was a meeting of the staff was of your own misconception, and not my own.  For I have spoken only of my desire for you to come to my office, so if you will, stop giving me that look of contempt and treason, and come sit." How was it he always sounded so bloody cheerful about everything?

            "So you did." I forced myself to briefly swallow my overbearing pride, and sit down across from him, though I did keep my eyes at a cold stare.  As much as I admired, as well as cared for this man, I was not about to obey him in full.  It just wasn't going to happen.  "So what is the abomination of a reason that you've decided to pull me away from my important work schedule?" He smiled lightly at me, somehow he was always able to see straight through my façade.  There really wasn't anything else I had to do today, at least, other than to come see him, really.

            "Do not worry Severus, it is a matter of importance that I have summoned you here today." He paused, and suddenly his face became grim and solemn.  I raised one of my brows at him, he rarely ever donned that look, and it seemed only when there was something truly troubling him.

            "Yes, Headmaster?"

            "However, I must say this situation is not one that is lighthearted, I'm afraid.  It is one I would rather have avoided, but I know FAR too well what avoiding undesirable situations can do." A shadow passed his face, and I knew he was speaking of the incident that had occurred two years ago.  I frowned, Albus always put himself at fault for that, and I knew that I didn't really help matters any at that time.  I suppose my pride and hatred for the boy got in the way of duty, and I… messed up, to say the least.  Lets just say, I haven't been trusted to 'try and help him' again… Oh well, I really didn't want to do it in the first place, really.  But what could have been as dreary as the news of the prophecy?  Was I being forced to resign?

            "Have they decided that the has been deatheater is no longer of any use to have at the school?" He chuckled softly, and I felt oddly relieved as an unnoticed pressure lifter itself from my chest.  No, no Severus, it is not that at all, rather the opposite instead.  The ministry was rather impressed with your role in bringing down Voldemort; and-" I cut him off.

            "What role?" I hadn't done anything except flub up on Harry Potter, the golden one's, occlumency training, and give much incorrect, though unintentionally incorrect, information about the happenings with the other deatheaters over the past few years.  Obviously Volde… He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named found out about my deception, most likely when he was embedded in the back of Quirrell's head, and I had my 'talk' with him about where his alliances lay.  Oh, the ode to the mistakes I have made…

            "The fact you even tried- and it was my own error in judgment to have you personally try to get Harry to-"

            "But Headmaster you didn't-" He put his hand up for me to stop, and I silenced myself.

            "Please Severus, do not interrupt me.  You have had a much harder time than most of us during these wars, if you would call it that." He was the one who sighed this time, and then laughed lightly, without a hint of humor.  "My, I seem to have gotten off the subject of what it is that I had brought you here for to begin with.  The ministry has found something of importance, and they passed it along to me.  I know that I should pass it along to you as well, no matter my sentiment on the subject…" He took a deep breath, and then looked to me, deep within my eyes, as if seeing down into the core of my soul.  My, how uncomfortable.  "You know Severus, you are like a son to me.  I would never wish you harm, yet by merely having the mark upon your arm, you must endure mych more harm than I would ever deem as reasonable." He paused again, as if forcing himself to say something.  "But because of your attempts, the ministry told me of the importance of it the moment they had recovered it."

            "And what was it, may I ask, that they found?"  I found myself inching forward, betrayed by my own unabashed curiosity.

            "A potion Severus, that may have the power to release you of your mark." My heart stopped, I swear that it did.  Take off the mark?  It just was not possible, I had already tried everything in my power to do already, and had given up years ago.  Well, short of killing Voldemort, but even when they boy wonder finally off and killed him last year, the blasted thing remained.

            "How?" was the single word I could force from my lips.

            "A potion that has been lost for many generations may hold the potential of removing the abomination on your arm… The Estevaris Potion, I trust you have heard of this." At the mention of the name that spark of hope fell from my being, and into non-existence. 

            "Why should I care for a potion that is lost?  And yes, I have heard of this before, but it is of no use to me as it seems it no longer exists."

            "Ah yes, it doesn't exist any longer." Strange man… annoying… must hold temper down…

            "May I ask why you are telling me of a potion that no longer exists?"

            "Ah, Severus, please be patient." I sighed, and then leaned back into the chair I was sitting in.  There was no arguing with this man… He held out a small box that looked suspiciously familiar.  "Sherbet Lemon Crème de Menthe drop?" A look of horror must have passed my face, for he immediately retreated his hand with the box.  "No, I suppose not." He carefully tucked it away, just after popping one of the odd candies into his mouth.  "Good, now then, where was I?  Oh yes, the potions.  As I was saying the potion itself no longer exists.  But-" He held up a finger to emphasize this, "it has been recently discovered that the maker of the potion left behind the instructions for making it.  The ministry came across it when someone off and decided to try and make it themselves." I raised a brow.

            "How would this alert the ministry of the potion?"

            "Yes, well it seems that at the end of the scroll, in fine print and in another nearly dead language, the maker wrote a warning.  If even the most miniscule ingredient or timing is off, the potion will be ruined, and in many cases, death can occur.  It is unfortunately the latter of these that occurred to the poor soul that attempted to make this potion."

            "I see." I tried to hide it, but a small smile betrayed me and began to form upon the corners of my lips.

            "Severus…" His tone was dangerously low, and I stopped the thoughts screaming through my mind, held down that oddly renewed hope, and forced myself to pay attention to this man.  "I know that you are a master of potions, to which you worked very hard to achieve, but this potion is extremely dangerous.  The only one known to brew this successfully was the creator himself." He leaned back into his chair looking somewhat defeated.  "I also know this is your choice." He then opened a drawer to his desk and lifted out a small scroll, then handed it to me.  I gingerly took it between my fingers… This… This could be the way… "Please… Just keep in mind, my dear Severus, I do not wish to lose my potion's master this year." I looked away from the parchment and directed my attentions to him once again, and then nodded slowly.

            "I will see to it you don't, no matter what it is I decide." To spite my words, I had already decided, in fact it was the moment he had told me of the scroll; though I'm sure he already knew that.  He smiled softly at me.

            "Ah yes, but you cannot blame an old man for worrying for someone he cares for like they are his own, hm?" I gave him a curt nod.

            "I suppose not Headmaster." I stood then, carefully holding onto the parchment within my long fingers.  "I suppose that is all then?" He nodded sadly, more than likely knowing of my decision.

            "Yes, I'm afraid so.  Please, do be careful, Severus."

            "Of course Headmaster." With that I turned from him, not waiting for his response, and then headed directly to my personal laboratory.  Contrary to what everyone in this place believes, I do NOT brew my potions within my classroom.  I swiftly made my way down the halls, my robes threateningly billowing behind me, as I avoided any eye contact whit any of the students.  Finally, I reached my chambers located on the third floor.  Yes, third floor, not the dungeons, ruining all misconceptions and 'known' facts about myself.  Not that it was a first choice, but at the time I had arrived at Hogwarts, it was the only choice, for it was the only livable place in the building not already occupied.  As soon as I had finally settled in a place in the dungeons had opened, but as it had taken me nearly two years to fully settle into my current place, I decided to stay.  Besides, I had the luxury of having a window in my lab, which oddly, was good for ventilation, or if a potion actually needed sunlight.  It would be easier to push back light repelling curtains, than it would to produce a light spell.  Perhaps it was a bit lazy, but even I have an imperfection here and there.  Speaking of imperfections…

            I removed my robe, and then haphazardly threw it on the back of my chair.  It looked a bit odd though, my robe looking as if it were just hanging in mid-air like that.  The chair was one of those new fangled inventions, though it was rather comfortable – once you were able to find it.  The Wond-Air chair was something of a spectacle in itself, as it was rather invisible.  Now that I am done doting, oddly, on my favorite chair, lets get back to the reason I am in here in the first place.  I rolled my sleeve up and touched my forearm delicately… the dark mark.  Soon… Oh so very soon I shall be rid of you…

            After giving what was most likely an evilly sadistic grin, I delicately opened the scroll in which I was holding.  After looking over it, I quickly gathered the ingredients, which thankfully were all present within my personal store.  I would be able to finish this as quickly as possible without having to hunt down near-impossible ingredients, and that was always a good thing.  Perhaps after the mark is gone they would finally allow me to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts.  I sighed, even if it WERE gone, I doubt they would allow me to switch classes.  I suppose that was my own fault, having such a passion for potions that I had decided to become a master of them.  Very well… I shook my head clear of thoughts, and then continued with the needed things.  As it was a very complicated potion, it took up most of my lab space; I worked as quickly as possible, setting everything up, and then starting the process.  A touch of this, a finely grated batwing, as well as many, many other steps as well.

            For hours I staved away in the lab, how many I am not so sure on, but they all went by in a blur.  The excitement of finally having a way, perhaps, to remove the bloody mark- it must have gotten to me.  I had set the potion instructions on the only free counter space there was left, near my Wond-Air chair and underneath a new shipment of potions and elixirs I had received still in the box.  Note to self- deliver those to Poppy when I am finished with this potion… Slowly I found myself nearing the end.  Nearly finished.  Oh Merlin, it was nearly done…

            Excitement bolted through my veins like fire as I carefully and expertly added the last of the ingredients.  It only needed to simmer for a short time now… The fire within me grew to new heights… Hope.  This odd and heart gripping feeling must be true hope.  I felt my lips curl up into a smile, odd, I believe I have smiled more this day than I had for the entire past month…  I then set the cauldron on the only empty spot available.  Oddly, that spot was next to the scroll, right underneath that package I must deliver to Poppy.  I stood, staring at it for a moment.  Twelve more minutes and it will be finished, and then I will have approximately five seconds to down the potion before it would turn into poison… I stood watching it for a while, noting the slowly ticking time and I started to fidget.  No use standing there, staring expectantly like a git at a bubbling potion, so I headed to my rooms, where to spite my effort of self control, I ended up pacing around the place ruthlessly.  Within four minutes of doing this there was a knock at the door.  I held my breath and stopped dead in my tracks.  Damn it all!  It had to be either Malfoy or Dumbledore, and neither of the two was I willing to talk to at this particular moment.

            "Professor Snape!  Are you in there?" I remained silent, hoping that the disturbance would go away.  It was Malfoy.  Damnable child… "I know you're in there, I can hear your insufferable breathing.  I have something important to tell you." I sighed.  I only had four minutes left now… Clenching my teeth, I went over to the door and slammed it open.

            "What is it Malfoy?  It better be important, I am not afraid to take points away from my own house you know." I paused, letting the information sink in, and the boy remained silent. "It better be important, I haven't much time, so speak quickly." He raised a brow at me and invited himself in.

            "Thought you might be here." He looked around the room, and then went to one of my many bookshelves and picked a picture up that lay there half hidden behind things.  Which was it?  He snickered a moment, held it up for me to see, and pointed to a figure in it.  All the blood drained from my face.  Oh, that one… I thought I had packed that away… "Is this you?" I clenched my teeth.  Indeed, it was a picture of me, sort of… I was half hidden in the picture, standing nervously behind her… Dezrah Arasin.  I was supposed to marry her, but as anyone can see, that worked out well… heh.

            "Mind your own business Malfoy." He gave a half laugh.

            "I thought so.  Didn't know you were so… pretty though." He outright laughed at that, and I snatched the picture from him.  I didn't like to remember those days… Before Voldemort, before the disfiguring to my face, my nose… In the picture my hair, though still greasy as it were, was at least orderly and tied back, so it looked rather descent.  My nose… a bit smaller without the hook, or the crookedness that was now a signature appearance for me, but long and regal-like.  I shivered at the memories his words brought back to my mind.  Yes, unfortunately I was considered to be a bit… 'pretty' as it were.  I put the picture facedown on the table and glared at him.

            "State your business, you have a minute now.  And a half actually."

            "A bit grouchy are we?" I sent him the coldest, most treacherous looking glare I could muster, and he cleared his throat.  "Fine.  It's about my father, he just told me he was voted in… you know, for THAT spot."  Malfoy?  They voted Malfoy in for the lead spot - Without MY knowledge?  "Told me they didn't bother to call you in for it, you busy with school and all." Time…

            "Listen, as much as I find this conversation rather... intriguing, I must get back to my work." I paused a moment, and the boy made no moves to leave. "GO!" I shoved him out the door, and then slammed it shut again… SHIT! I had to get back to that potion.  NOW.  I had twenty-four seconds now before the potion would become a very potent poison.  I quickly ran for my lab door, which took me about nine seconds, including fumbling with the door.  As soon as I found my way in, right after slamming the door open, I rushed inside as fast as I possibly could.  By the time I made my way over to the potion, I had less than four seconds to drink it.  I was now only a few feet away from it, and I tried to swallow my heart back into its place within my chest.  I had worked meticulously and to perfection – I had nothing to worry about…

            Oddly enough, it is the next sequence of unfortunate events that ruined all my planning and hard work.  It had happened so quickly as to seem but a blur, that I slow it down to a step-by-step reasoning for this explanation.  As I was about two feet away from the potion, my feet caught on the Wond-Air chair, and I stumbled backwards to gain my balance.  Do not ask me why I had forgotten that I had left that chair there, for I am not sure why, as to this day.  It was something of a major mistake, and I blame it entirely on my frantic state, for I, Professor Severus Snape, Master of potions, and former deatheater, am NOT a klutz.  Now that I have that clear, lets continue on, shall we?  As I was saying, after the chair caught my leg, it lurched forward.  It then bumped the table with the potion on it, jarring the table, and making the package I needed to deliver to Poppy tip over.  The moment this happened my world went into slow motion.  The moment the package hit it's side, it popped open, spilling some of its contents out of the package.  This is where it goes fatally wrong.  The few bottles and bundles of medicines and potions that DID fall out, two or more of them fell into the happily bubbling cauldron, where my potion lie.  At this time, I am sure I donned an expression not too awfully far from utter despair.  Of course, this did not last long.

            In not even a full second, the oddest thing happened, a pulse of air filled the room, which was closely followed by an explosion of light, so brilliant it was like none I had ever seen before.  Then, and just then, the potion exploded from the place it brewed, covering the room, and covering me totally with its hot glowing liquid.  Shortly after this, my world faded into black, and I fell soundlessly to the floor.

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A/N- Well, I hope you enjoyed this chapter; it will be a while before the next one.  I am finishing a chapter to one of my other stories on here, and then I am devoting myself to another chapter in my novel, which is more important to me than anything else I write as I hope to sell it one day.  Then after that, you will get chapter two, which shouldn't take too horribly long as most of the rough draft for that chapter is done.

Also, just in case you were wondering why this is under the category of romance, this will eventually become SS/HG.

Thank you for reading, and I love getting reviews, so tell me what you think!!